Stillwater Division of Assets Lawyer
The process of going through a divorce can be a very stressful and often overwhelming transition. Along with the emotional burden you may endure, you will also have to worry about how marital property and assets will be distributed. This can be a contentious affair, and disagreements sometimes arise as to who gets what and what belongs to whom.
Any spouse who is contemplating divorce in Oklahoma should speak with an experienced Stillwater division of assets lawyer right away to discuss the different options available. It will take the skill of a well-practiced family lawyer to ensure you reach a fair and agreeable settlement.
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What is Considered Marital Property?
Oklahoma is considered an Equitable Distribution state, which means assets are divided equitably, or fairly, following a divorce. One of the most common misconceptions surrounding division of assets is that it will always be a 50-50 split. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal, and it is important to consult with an experienced Stillwater division of assets lawyer to sort out any complications that may arise.
Marital property refers to any assets or debts that were accumulated over the course of the marriage. This can include joint property such as stocks, bonds, credit card debts, and bank accounts, along with physical property such as homes and vehicles. Anything that was acquired by a spouse prior to marriage does not qualify as marital property and is therefore considered separately owned. Likewise, any property a spouse receives via gift or inheritance is also classified as separate.
Separately owned property can sometimes become marital property if it has been commingled. For example, a husband who purchased a vehicle prior to marriage may use joint funds to complete payments. Depending on the amount of money in question, the court may rule that the vehicle has now become marital property and is to be divided accordingly. In this case, the spouse may simply be ordered to reimburse the other for the payments made.
When marital property has been identified, it then needs to be appraised and given a monetary value. Usually, all physical property is assessed at its current market value, not necessarily the value when acquired. This may call for a real estate appraiser or other professional to estimate how much certain items may be worth.
Disagreements over what property is separate and what is not can lead to heated arguments. To avoid confusion, it is best to consult with an experienced Stillwater division of assets lawyer to successfully mediate between the two parties.
Factors that Determine Division of Assets
If the two spouses are unable to reach an agreement as to how marital property will be divided, the issue will be settled in court. There are a variety of factors that the court will consider when distributing assets, and it is up to their discretion as to how the assets will be divided equitably.
The court will examine each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, along with the circumstances each will face after the divorce. Important factors that Oklahoma courts will consider include the length of the marriage, health and age of the respective spouses, earning potential, and any prenuptial agreements.
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Division of property can go in any direction, with many variables. For instance, if one spouse has a lower income than the other, the courts may award more marital property in their favor due to financial circumstances. On the other hand, it could be determined that the lower-income spouse “earned” less of the marital property. Ultimately, the courts will base their ruling off what is fair, or equitable, and divide the assets accordingly.
To make sure that you are receiving fair compensation for your divorce, you will need an experienced Stillwater division of assets lawyer to compile evidence and act as your personal advocate.
Marital Fault and Spousal Support Arrangements
Marital fault isn’t usually a factor when determining division of assets. However, if one spouse misuses or dissipates assets in a way that was detrimental to the marriage, the courts may take this into consideration. For example, if one spouse commits adultery and uses joint funds toward their extramarital affair, the court may order the at-fault spouse to reimburse the other. This can also apply to gambling debts that one spouse may have accrued without the other’s involvement.
Childcare responsibilities and alimony arrangements can also be taken into consideration if the court sees fit. Separately-owned property may be awarded as collateral to satisfy spousal support duties, so long as it is deemed reasonable and fair. If you have any questions as to how your marital assets will be divided, it is extremely beneficial to consult with a well-practiced Stillwater division of assets lawyer to sort out any complexities.
How an Experienced Stillwater Division of Assets Lawyer Can Help
Because the laws surrounding division of marital assets in Oklahoma can be difficult to understand, it will be hard to come up with an agreeable solution without the assistance of an outside party. Reaching out to an experienced Stillwater division of assets lawyer with a proven track record of cooperation and reaching peaceful settlements is your best bet to sort out any intricacies and questions you might have. Please contact our offices today for a free consultation.